Chess Club Is A Huge Success At Mountain Sun

Mountain Sun Community School students playing chess.

by Kayla Leed | Brevard, NC

Mountain Sun Community School (MSCS) began a chess club in 2014 when Art and Lydia Odell, the parents of a student, decided they wanted to add an educational opportunity to the Mountain Sun curriculum and offerings.

At MSCS each family is expected to volunteer a certain amount of hours during the school year, and this was the Odells way to give back to the school that gives so much to their son.

“Leading chess club is a fun way to help students learn skills while having a great time playing a game. We don’t have to talk about the benefits of chess. Instead, we simply teach, learn, strategize, grow and have an awesome time together. It’s our hope that all the students we interact with will play chess for life,” said Lydia Odell.

MSCS Chess Club has grown from eight members to 17 in the past two years.

The club meets every Friday for approximately eight weeks each fall and spring from 3:15-5:15 p.m.

The club competes in various regional tournaments, including one in Charlotte, which they attend at least once a year. Last year, MSCS achieved two team trophies, second and fourth places in the elementary school divison, at a regional tournament in Arden.

The game of chess encourages students to learn strategic thinking and planning while gaining life skills like problem solving, decision-making and information processing.

Other achievements include a better handle on patience, endurance and communication.

“Chess is a great alternative to being plugged-in. I love watching the silent communication between two players as they attempt checkmate,” said Odell.

Similar to the in-class structure at Mountain Sun, the older members of the club have naturally taken on the role of teaching the younger members.

Aside from learning the skills this tactical board game requires, the students are teaching, learning and creating a bond that is inevitably strong.

“So many of the younger students learn to play chess because of the chess club,” said student Max Posnock, fourth grader.

He agrees that the mentorship that comes from his older peers has encouraged him to learn this game.

The MSCS Chess Club will compete in their next tournament on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Mountain Sun Community School is a nonprofit 501c3 independent school in Brevard. Mountain Sun serves children ages 3 through middle school and combines Montessori education with outdoor exploration, artistic creativity, and community service.

Call (828) 885-2555 for more information.

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